Saturday, February 28, 2009

YGP show

Wow, what a busy week. We started this week shooting stories for the new season of the Garden Time show. Then we ended it by shooting the first show of the season at the Yard, Garden and Patio show at the Oregon Convention Center. This show is one of the best shows if you are looking for the coolest new things for the garden. We saw tons of people visiting great places like Ferguson's Fragrant Nursery,

the Swan Island Dahlias booth,

And the award winning Dinsdale Landscaping display.

William and Judy had a seminar on Gardening Myths…

And then met with viewers in the Home and Garden Journal booth.

Garden Time even had a container on display…

But we couldn’t compare to the 1st place container done by Deby and her crew at Cornell Farm.

There is one more day left (Sunday March 1st) to enjoy this great event. Take your family and stop by! It's a great time.

Garden time producer

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Strong Statement!

Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Every year I go through the same's a winter sickness accompanied by the distaste that comes from drinking sour milk. Sometimes I feel a physical aching for spring.
Then, right when I think I am at the end of my abilities to handle one more day, one more frustration, I walk through my gardens and see something bright and beautiful bursting forth. Like the proverbial balloon bursting in a mid summer water balloon fight, I am instantly taken to a place of happiness.
While wrapped in a coat and several layers of clothing a few days ago I happened upon my Lonicaera Fragrantissima.
This demure family member of the honeysuckles is exactly what I needed to see. It's small white (almost translucent) blooms not only laugh at the still hanging on winter weather but they pack a powerful delightful fragrance as well. Their blooms appear in February to March on leafless rather unattractive wooden stems. This plant, with one foot in the vines grouping of plants and the other in the shrub family, is well suited to taking a good pruning. It trains very well too, so whether you want a espaliered form, shrub or gangly hedge (mine is trained as a small tree with a single trunk) it's blooms are it's glory!
Science tells us that things that smell good to us do so because they release endorphins in our brains. I am aware that every time I take a deep breath around this plant...I do get a bit happier. My winter illness abates a little and the hope that spring really is coming takes a stronger foothold.
The beauty of Nature is that she does not comprehend nor does she care for the insanity of man. Her clock is set by a much grander design that what we mere mortals cling to.
With so much bad news around us, one sometimes wonders if spring itself will shy away from showing it's face. Well, if my garden has anything to say about it, it's going forward regardless of what anyone thinks.
So wrap up warm, take a walk in your yard or one of the many Public Gardens we are so blessed to have in Portland or even walk through an Independent Garden Center. Let the fragrances and the early blooming plants inspire you to hold on few more weeks....
Happy Gardening!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tracy stops by

We had the pleasure in the Portland area to hear Tracy Disabato Aust recently. She stopped by the Al’s in Sherwood to talk about her new book ’50 High-impact, Low-care Garden Plants’. She picked 12 criteria that she wanted plants to meet to be included in the book. Areas like cold tolerance, minimal division and deadheading, being non-invasive and disease resistance. All of these helped narrow down a list to the 50 she mentioned. Some great plants she found include Golden variegated sweet flag, Paperbark maple and Rozanne Hardy Geranium.
Tracy is such a great speaker and she knows what gardeners are looking for in these tough economic times. You must get this book! Check out the Timber Press website for more info. She also has a website you can visit, Also, check out her story on the Garden Time show coming up in March. We will also be featuring her in the new Garden Time On-line magazine coming out in April.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New changes…

The Garden Time crew has been busy during the break since last November. William has traveled the country taking some classes and viewing some shows. Judy has been busy with seminars and helping decided what varieties to grow at the nursery. Producer Jeff has been planning stories for the new season and working on starting the new 'Garden Time On-line' magazine. You can sign up for the Free magazine at the website. We have also take some new pictures for the website.
Aren’t they cute!!!
We are also getting ready for the move. Garden Time will be seen at a new time on KPTV Fox-12 in Portland. We are moving to 8:30am, Saturday mornings. This will be better for a lot of viewers who have wanted us to be on a little sooner so they can get outside and gardening! We are also expanding. We have added CGN-7 in Hood River to our station group. We will be seen there at 9:30 Saturday mornings.
Get ready we start shooting our new season this coming Monday and in our first show we will be at the Yard Garden and Patio show. Check the Garden Time website for a discount coupon so you can see the show and save a little cash!

See you on TV soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Garden Time Field Trip

The Garden Time gang went on a field trip to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (PCCG) during the Chinese New Year festivities. We are lucky that we visit PCCG a few times a season for segments on Garden Time. We are usually on a tight schedule to film & then move on to the next story. We decided to take the time & enjoy the garden. We had a grand time & even took a garden tour with a volunteer guide. It's always an interesting a mix of exotic & familiar plants, beautiful buildings & stonework. The garden looks great this time of year. The Winter Jasmin is still in bloom,
Edgeworthia is in full bud and the ornamental plum is almost ready to flower. We found Bill & Glyn, the PCCG garden staffers, working on projects & enjoyed catching up with them. They said the garden didn't suffer too much snow & ice damage. They are glad they wrap the hardy bananas each fall. The exposed leaves are toast but the trunks are wrapped in layers of card board & burlap. The bananas should be fine. It will be interesting to see what they look like this spring. Can't wait to visit next time & enjoy the change of season.
Take care,

Friday, February 13, 2009


I admit it, I've been lazy in keeping up these blogs. I was supposed to update my blog a few weeks ago but I played hooky. How could I stay at my computer & write about gardening when the sun was shining. I wanted to participate in the real thing!
I pruned my pear tree and cleaned up perennials I know won't need protection for the rest of Winter.
I hope you played hooky too as those sunny days were fleeting. Every February we have those beautiful teases of Spring.
I was really glad I took the time to work in the garden as I watched the beautiful snowfall the next Tuesday. It was pretty and such a picturesque scene it was. The flakes were huge & drifted so perfectly from the sky. I tried not to grumble as it was such a pretty sight but also reality. It is February!
Moral of this blog. Enjoy each day & make the most of it!
Take care.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Italy Gardens - The Amalfi coast

The next leg of our trip took us south through Naples to the Amalfi coast. This is what we would consider the ‘banana belt’ of Italy. The climate here is a lot warmer than the northern part of the country. We also saw larger growing operations. There were lots of these large greenhouses and I was told that they are used to grow flowers and vegetables for the garden centers and stores in the city.
Our first stop was Sorrento which was surrounded by citrus. You can tell this is a major product down here because everything was tied to the citrus. We found citrus based items on the menu, and even in the local liquor, Lemoncello. In Sorrento we even found a garden in the center of the city that had grafted lemon and orange trees together. There was so much citrus that the trees in the street were dropping ripe fruit.

We also found a full seed rack at a small store in town. Check out the selection of seeds they were offering in early November...

We traveled further down the coast and stopped in Positano. These small towns are crowded against the sides of the steep cliffs and so they make use of every space. Check out these gardens squeezed into small spaces on the hill. Also, because of the warm temperatures they can grow plants that we would consider annuals.

This bougainvillea was climbing all over the side of a hotel. We even saw it on bare cliffs in the middle of nowhere.

Finally we made it to Amalfi. Here we were greeted by this tremendous specimen of a Norfolk Island Pine. Very impressive.

I will leave you with our last shot of this tour. I think these locally grown peppers say it all. Gardeners around the world still have a sense of humor!

The final thought I have for you. If you are traveling, take time to look at the plants and how people enjoy them. I found that the love of plants has no boundaries. I also realized that we live in a rare part of the world. We can grow just about anything in the Northwest and that is what makes it special!

Jeff Gustin
Garden Time Producer